Rating: 4 stars
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This is Simon Bancroft’s third winter at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. He loves the remote landscape, the sense of community at the station, and the adventure of travel. To Simon, Antarctica is home. When new researcher, Asher Delaney, arrives at McMurdo, Simon can’t help but be drawn to the gorgeous man. Asher is exactly Simon’s type, all huge and muscle-laden. Simon fantasizes about all the ways he and Asher can have fun during the endless dark of winter in Antarctica. But Asher is a gorgeous researcher and Simon is just a dishwasher and he can’t imagine that Asher would give him a second look.
Simon’s friends are encouraging him to approach Asher, but he is too nervous to try. So they make a friendly bet designed to motivate Simon to give it a shot, and it works. When Simon finally talks to Asher, he realizes the man is nothing like his fantasies. Not that he still doesn’t find Asher incredibly hot, but his shy, sweet personality is nothing like the dominating man Simon imagined him to be.
As the men spend more time together, Simon finds he really enjoys getting to know Asher and learning all about him. He realizes he likes “real” Asher a lot more than his fantasy man. And to Simon’s surprise, he finds he has growing feelings for Asher. Simon has never had a boyfriend or wanted anything serious, but it turns out Asher might just be everything Simon never knew he needed.
I have always found life in Antarctica fascinating and so I was drawn to this book right away. I was excited to learn that author Elyse Springer actually lived and worked in Antarctica, including spending time at McMurdo Station, so she has the experience to really give the story authenticity. I definitely appreciated the little details she was able to provide about day-to-day life at the station and I think it really enhanced the overall story. Everything from the slang the residents use to the places people hang out helped to bring the story to life.
This is a sweet book with almost a slow burn feel as Simon and Asher get to know one another. I think there is a nice message here about getting to know the real person behind the exterior. At first, Simon just sees Asher for the gorgeous god-like man that he is. There is Asher of his fantasies, who is nothing like real Asher in personality. As they spend time together, Simon relishes getting a chance to really get to know Asher as a person and to build a connection together. There is some mild conflict here as Simon has to mentally readjust to the idea that he has actual feelings for Asher, and this isn’t just a hookup like he planned. And of course, there is the bet hanging out there. But mostly this is a sweet (and often sexy) story of two men getting to know one another amidst the really fascinating backdrop of Antarctica.
I found World Turned Upside really enjoyable and Springer’s experience living in Antarctica really shines through and adds a nice touch to the story.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.
Thanks for the review, Jay. This looks intriguing. I watched a documentary on McMurdo station recently, and thought at the time, wouldn’t it be wonderful to read a romance in this setting? Jay – what held you back from giving a higher score?
Yes, such a fascinating place, right? As to the rating, I loved the book but it didn’t have quite the depth of story or characters that I look for in a really top rated book. But that said, I can definitely recommend this one and had no specific issues.
This sounds fascinating! Thanks for sharing that the author spent time at McMurdo Station, Jay. This book piques my interest.